Nigeria’s West African Portland Cement Company , a subsidiary of the world’s leading cement firm Lafarge , said on Monday it had launched its rights issue to raise 10.2 billion naira ($77m) to pay-off debts. WAPCO, Nigeria’s biggest cement firm by capitalisation, said it is offering 1.286 billion shares on the basis of three for every four held by shareholders on its register by March 24. The offer will close on June 15.
"It will provide us with fresh funds required to sustain the company’s profitability, thereby ensuring that the interests now being paid to external fund providers will accrue to the company’s shareholders as dividends," WAPCO chairman Bayo Akinnola said in a statement. WAPCO is weighed down by a huge debt after borrowing 10 billion naira from banks to build a new plant at its main factory in Ewekoro, near the commercial capital of Lagos. WAPCO is more than 50 per cent owned by France’s Lafarge, while Nigerian investors control the balance.